When we first see a big, thick book, it can be intimidating, right?
Fortunately for us, the Bible us a book of what are essentially letters.
Some people just open to a random page and begin reading. While this might be okay for a quick extra dose of the Word, I am not a fan of this as a way to study the Bible.
Imagine that you got a letter from a dear friend or someone you highly respect.
Would you just flip to page two and begin reading?
How well would you understand what is being said?
What if the part of the letter that you skipped totally changed the meaning of the passage you read?
Context is so important in Bible study.
Begin at the first part of a book and read through the entire book if possible. Most of the New Testement books are easily read in one sitting.
Remember that that is how they are meant to be read. Chapters and verses have since been established to help us find verses easily.
Just because there’s a new verse or even chapter number does not mean that the thought being conveyed has changed.
Find A Time
I have heard people say “I don’t have time for reading the Bible”. I will not sugar coat this next bit:
If you are a follower of Christ and think yourself too busy for Bible study, then you are too busy. Bible study should be a priority in your life.
Yes, there are seasons where Bible study does not mean pulling out tons of books and doing word research and highlighting, etc., but we MUST be intentional about being in the Word. If you missed yesterday’s post on why this is so important, please take a minute to check it out: Bible Study-Are You Feeding Your Soul?
Back to finding a time. I like to start my day off with study. Being a mom of two littles, I need to get moving before I start, or I will fall asleep again. I try to get up, shower and get dressed (yes, sometimes it is just in clean jammies or sweats) before I start my time with the Lord.
What time you do it does not matter. What does matter is making the time. There is no right or wrong time.
Where to start
Here are a couple of ideas of places to actually start:
‘John’ Reading Plan
A good place to start is the book of John.
Start with the Gospel of John, then start back in the Gospel of Matthew and read through the New Testament. Then go back to Genesis and read back through the entire Bible.
Chronological Reading Plan
The books of the Bible are typically grouped by genre, not necessarily in chronological order.
A chronological reading plan gives you a great sense of the time and history of the books.
BibleGateway has a Chronological reading plan here.
I love these studies. While I have never found an online group to join, I have done them myself and with a couple of friends. You can also go back and do past studies that they have done.
There are many different translations, some word for word, some use thought for thought and some paraphrase. I am looking into a new translation to use because the NIV, which I have used for the biggest part of my life, has changed. Not so much in a good way. Political correctness type stuff. Seriously, the 2004 NIV is not the same as the newest one.
Since we are talking about doing study in the Word, a word for word translation is important to me. I am leaning toward either the English Standard Version (ESV) or the New American Standard (NASB).
Once I decide on a translation, I will get a concordance to help me dig into the Word. A concordance is a wonderful study aid, that lets you look up the words used in a particular Scripture so that you can get a deeper understanding of the original meaning in Greek or Hebrew. They are translation specific, so I do need to figure out which translation I am going to use for study. I will share more on how it all works when I get one, but here is a handy page with some great info.
There are several great Bible study methods out there. You can study book by book, or themes or keywords in the Bible. I prefer to do book studies.
The one I use a lot is the SOAP method. I use it as I am studying a book of the Bible.
Good Morning Girls used this method a few years ago (they have changed it a bit and it is now called the SOAK method), and I love it.
S. Scripture-writing out the Scripture
O. Observation-jotting a couple of observations about the verses
A. Application-how can I apply it to my life today?
P. Prayer-Pray the Scriptures, pray for the changes you need to make, pray that God would impress the Scriptures on you heart and mind
I use plain journals to write it out. Cute ones I usually find at Michael’s arts and crafts for a dollar. I usually use one page to do Scripture and the opposite one to do notes on it. I recently found some amazing journals that are designed for just such a thing, I will link to them in tomorrow’s post of resources.
I have found that writing them out makes me think about them more, makes them stick in my mama needs more sleep fog.
Some more information on different Bible study methods:
It does not matter what you read or how you read it if you do not apply it to your life.
What good would taking driver’s education be if it did not shape the way you drive?
I hope this helps you on you journey closer to the Lord. Tomorrow (hopefully) I will be sharing how I organize my study supplies, some of my favorite resources and articles on Bible study.
I have now finished this series! So here are the links to these posts that go together.
What method of Bible study do you use? What is your favorite book of the Bible?